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The Great Debate About the Word Mathematics
The word 'mathematics' is one we all know and love, but can we all agree on its part of speech? Mathematics. It is a noun, obviously, but is it in the singular or the plural form?
Many just prefer to shorten 'mathematics' to a mere one syllable for convenience. In North America, the word 'math' is used, but the rest of the world uses 'maths'.
So, who is right?
Let's dig a little deeper into the word Mathematics...
Facts About The Word "Mathematics"
The Cold Hard Facts
Weigh the facts before you decide:
- Mathematics originally denoted all the mathematical sciences collectively, including geometry, astronomy, optics, etc.
- Mathematics originated from the latin mathematica (plural), from the greek from mathematikos (adjective).
- People tend to say "mathematics is ____", the "is" being the singular form of the verb "to be", as opposed to the plural form which would say "mathematics are ________".
Statistics are math, so I think a few statistics on the issue of mathematics is only fitting:
An In Depth Look at Mathematic(s) Issue
This is a well done breakdown of the word origin and uses through history that help to indicate its part of speech.
- Separated by a common language: math(s)
Observations on British and American English by an American linguist in the UK
England and America are two countries separated by a common language.
--George Bernard Shaw
Which is correct? 'math' or 'maths'?
Shortening of the word mathematics has been done on both sides of the Atlantic. Americans go to Math Class while Brits attend Maths Class. Does this give us any answers at all to our big question? Which is correct? 'math' or 'maths'?
The Great Mathematic(s) Debate
Is 'mathematics' a singular or plural noun?
Which is correct? Math or Maths?
Ritu Siddhu on August 10, 2018:
Mathematics is singular noun but it seem plural in some case we use singular verb and plural verb (is/are)
John Dyhouse from UK on October 21, 2012:
Well this definitely ignited some debate. I will never agree that it is plural though. Great fun, let us know when you have a definitive answer.
hlkljgk from Western Mass on February 13, 2012:
i never thought about this before. :)
Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on February 12, 2012:
The word math with an s on the end is just one more key word to add to a delightful lens about mathematics! :)
Squid Angel Blessed!
Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on February 12, 2012:
Good question! I used to see people use the word "maths" and immediately think they were grammatically incorrect. Now I'm not so sure. I do believe that may be a cultural difference. But when it comes to "mathematics," I stand firm on my belief that it's a singular noun to be followed by "is" not "are."
Joan Haines on February 12, 2012:
What a fun topic(s)!
Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on June 05, 2009:
drifter0658 lm on June 03, 2009:
I love it when a lens comes together.